A few years ago a kayaker told me that she always found discarded cans of Natural Light beer near and floating in various rivers. This tidbit caused me to start looking closer at the beer cans I saw (and disposed of) on my runs. Interestingly, Natural Light is the number one beer that I’ve found as litter. Last week I ran on the FSU campus on a Sunday after a game. The bike trail to the campus was littered with hundreds of Natural Light cans and the red party cups that are so popular with the drunk and trashy. Naturally, I was unable to clean up that mess. Fortunately, the FSU clean up folks do a good job cleaning up that sort of mess.
Not surprisingly, seeing so much trash all the time makes me wonder why people litter. One obvious answer is pure laziness. It takes a minimal effort to dispose of trash, but that seems to be too much to ask of some people. I do wonder if that character flaw infects the rest of their life as well. Speaking of character flaws, another option is that it is a sense of entitlement. Perhaps some litterbugs see themselves as having a right to have others tend to their messes. Maybe their parents cleaned up after them and never made the importance of taking care their own messes stick properly. Or perhaps it is just pure ego. Then again, maybe that attributes too much reflection to such people. It might well be the case that dropping trash is a matter of habit and unreasoning instinct. They use it, no longer need it and just let it drop without a second thought.
Litter, as you might guess, bothers me. It is ugly, pollutes the environment and serves to remind me (in a small way) about the badness of people. I’ve never found it difficult to take care of my own trash and it annoys me that so many other people cannot do the same. It is such a little thing, but it makes such a big difference. Also, I suspect that it is habit forming (or the result of bad habits). I’ve noticed that some people who see the world as their trash can treat their own bodies and residences that way. At least they are consistent in their vices.
In case you are wondering why Natural Light is the top trash beer, I’ve been told that this is because it is so cheap and hence is very common. Of course, my beer snob friends say it is because people who can choke down Natural Light are the sort of people who litter. I’m not sure about that.